How to deal with professional envy

Feeling envious of another’s success? Here’s how to deal with your tricky emotions

By Ernest Richardson

When Dermot O’Leary quit as host of the National Television Awards, the media were quick to pounce on his comments about Ant and Dec in the run-up to this year’s ceremony.

O’Leary, a firm favourite among ITV viewers, said he would “throw in the towel” if the Geordie pair won the best presenter gong for the 18th year in a row.

Commentators including Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan thought the duo should be omitted from the shortlist following Ant McPartlin’s recent absence from our screens.

Even so, they won the award, with Dec wishing O’Leary a “happy retirement” as he accepted the trophy via live link from the Britain’s Got Talent auditions.

But O’Leary was quick to point out that it was all just light-hearted banter between mates.

The X Factor host claims the three are meeting for dinner in the coming weeks and that they’re all firm friends.

As anyone who’s suffered from professional envy knows, it can be hard to stomach when a colleague enjoys success – especially if they don’t seem to deserve it.

Just Recruitment director Emma Kershaw says it’s a reaction that must be controlled if you’re to thrive in the workplace.

“There’s no point getting hot under the collar when other people receive accolades that you think they don’t deserve,” she says. “As Dermot O’Leary discovered, even light-hearted comments can be interpreted as a case of sour grapes.”

Far better, says Kershaw, to concentrate on improving your own performance so that your talents don’t go unnoticed for long.

“Be positive, congratulate your colleague, and move on,” she advises. “No one wants to be known as the office whinger.”

And, most important of all, don’t do anything you’ll later regret, such as quitting a dream job just to prove a point.

“I’m pretty sure Dermot O’Leary hasn’t quit the NTAs because of the Ant and Dec award,” Kershaw says. “But the newspapers are presenting it that way. It goes to show how easy it is for your actions to be misunderstood.

“As ever, the best advice is the oldest in the book. Stop worrying about what you can’t control. Think instead about how you can be a model employee, then enjoy your recognition when it comes.”

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

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